Thursday, May 15, 2008

She was an Awesome Dog




I've written about our Old English Sheepdog before and now I find her on my mind more than ever. This past weekend while my younger son Michael and his family were down for Mother's Day weekend, Evil Sister's son (and an old friend of Michael's) Jason and his family were here, too. Jason's wife Meridith noticed the pictures of Digby that were hanging in the hallway. She asked if that had been our dog. I smiled (as I always do when her name is mentioned...and teared up a bit, again as I always do) and told her yes, she had been a birthday gift from Mac. Jason heard the conversation and said "oh Meridith, she was an awesome dog...just awesome." I don't think a better description has ever been given her. I loved her as a central part of the family, she was the boys fur sister, my four legged daughter, Mac's little Princess...I don't think a dog was ever so loved. Except maybe Terri's Dakota. I saw on her blogsite (http://bobandterri.blogspot.com/) that she had recently lost her beloved Dakota and then she didn't post for a while. I knew why. I didn't blame her. My heart went out to her and Bob because I knew what misery it was to lose someone you love that dearly and you just don't want to hear "but it's only a dog (or a cat or a bird or horse) because the love that pet owners feel for their pets far exceeds the description of pet. Jason began to tell Meridith the story of when Digby had saved a small child from drowning in a creek at Earle Naval Weapons Station in Colts Neck, New Jersey. We had a gathering in my dining room on Earle a lot of mornings. The group was made up of me, Evil Sister, and the two Cindy's. Both Cindy's had children named Ryan. Nextdoor neighbor Cindy's Ryan was four years old. He would knock on my door in the morning and ask if Digby could come out and play. Digby adored that little boy, as she did most of the neighborhood children. She loved rounding them up in tight little knots most of all. It was in her nature. So one morning the Mob of Four had gathered to teach Round the Corner Cindy how to play Scrabble. Scrabble was an obsession with Evil Sister and me and we were trying our best to spread the addiction. Most of the kids were outside across the street on the green playing kickball and chase and mother may I and Cindy Round the Corner had let her two year old Ryan go out with them. There were promises from all the little kids that they would keep up with him, but we all took turns jumping up to look out the window to check on the smallest of the Playgroup. It was a sudden thing, but Digby began to run from me to the door and barking anxiously and wouldn't stop. Deciding that she wanted to go out and play with the kids, I got up and opened the door. She ran straight out and across the green and didn't stop. By this time all of us were standing at the door and Round the Corner Cindy said "I don't see Ryan." And then we all saw Ryan. His dark blue parka held firmly between her jaws, Digby dragged him from the creek. He was screaming bloody murder so we knew he was alive, but we nearly knocked each other to the floor trying to get out the door all at the same time. After she had him pulled up on the bank, Digby began to run towards us, barking the alarm, and then she ran back to little Ryan and began licking him furiously. His mother ran to him, gathered him up in her arms and crying and shaking, hugged him. She knelt down, Ryan still in her arms and hugged Digby. "You're a wonderful girl, you are!" she was sobbing. She took her rescued boy home for dry clothes and then to the base clinic to make sure he didn't have any injuries. Digby became the hero of the base, but it didn't change her any. She didn't get a case of the "big head". She still liked to play with the neighborhood kids, her own two boys were still her favorites, and Next Door Ryan still came calling for her every morning. If I close my eyes I can still hear his tiny knock and his little voice calling out "can Digby come out to play?"


58 comments:

Terri said...

Oh! What a wonderful story. My first Boston, Sam, wasn't so heroic as your girl, but all the same he meant the world to me. When he died I really and truly thought my heart would break! Sometimes in this life we are just blessed with special animals. I feel kind of sorry for folks that can't understand that sometimes miracles have four feet and fur.
God bless.
Terri

Jeni said...

My kids and I descend from a long, long line of "animals are human" lovers and I gotta tell you how much I loved this story of the awesome Digby.
My most beloved pet of all was the mutt I got in 1958. We had Duffy for five years that were filled with fun and adventure, enjoyment and pleasure that came from this sweet little black furball before he died. Forty-five years and several other dogs and cats have come and gone in between but Duffy is THE one I remember the most, the best and gosh, I still miss him very much.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

I lost my awesome dog 2 1/2 years ago, so can totally relate to the sad feelings and missing them. She will be my best friend forever in the dogworld. I'm not ready for another one though, I'll just have to enjoy the neighbor dogs.

Hugs,
Rhoda

Grit said...

This is a lovely story, thank you for sharing your dog tale! our kids are still scared of dogs; they're in therapy for that.

Akelamalu said...

I still miss our one and only dog 'Guinness'. We had him from being 5 weeks old until at 17 years old we had to have him put to sleep - it broke my heart! :(

joan said...

That's a great story Sandi> It's amazing how one dog can totally have that affect on our lives. I had a golden retriever named Claire years ago and when she died I just couldn't get another because she was so special. Loved this story.

Jeanne said...

Okay what is it today?! One of my other online friends has a post about her furbaby today. You guys are making me cry. My baby kitty is sitting her with me wondering why mommy keeps squeezing her.

Lee said...

Aw, Sandi, that's a great story and she looks just lovely in that old photo. I know you miss her. We all miss our furry best friends when they're gone. Do you have any more pictures of her?

Hugs!

windycorner said...

Such a sweet story. There's no such thing as "just a dog" is there?
Holley

Alison Boon said...

What a wonderful story. She sounds like a great dog. I will never believe that we shouldn't care for these pets every bit as much as for humans.

Mockingbird Hill said...

Sandi..thanks for sharing this story 'cause Iknow it wasn't easy to bring up those memories. I think most of us have lost a pet..whatever it may be...and just lost a piece of our heart along the way.

Sweet story ;)

Cassie

TattingChic said...

Oh, I totally understand, I lost my kitty "Ace" 10 years ago. I still miss him. He was part of the family.

Christine of Epiphany said...

I came over to say "thank you" for your nice comment on my photo, but this post made me cry! I never knew Digby, but I love her, now!

Jan said...

That was the greatest story! What a beautiful dog she was! I know all too well the pain you felt when you lost her! I had my poodle Baxter for 16 years and had to have him put down 2 years ago. He stills comes to visit me in my dreams and while I still miss him terribly, his visits help. : )
Thanks for sharing the wonderful memories of Digby with us.

Jan

Donna said...

Oh My Sandi...I just dropped in to say hello and to thank you for your fun comment on my blog, and I find this heart Wrenching story of one Beautiful soul...wonderful and brave soul...hughugs

imbeingheldhostage said...

She was beautiful too! I had a boyfriend at the time my beloved dog died (the one I had grown up with). His response was, "You should've put her down long ago". Nice guy-- he was the one I should've put down. This was a lovely post, thanks for coming by earlier-- David's blog is wonderful for linking bloggers, isn't it?

Country Cottage Chic said...

What a wonderful story - brought a tear to my eye.

San said...

Digby WAS an awesome dog. Your account of her saving Ryan's life is simply beautiful.

And the name "Digby" is unique, just like your precious dog. It's no wonder she's on your mind, Sandi. Such memories are to be treasured.

Pam said...

What a lovely story. Digby was a regular "lassie" sounds like.

Gosh, losing a pet is one of the hardest things...they have such unconditional love.

Hairline Fracture said...

What a beautiful story. It's no wonder you miss her so much--she sounds wonderful. A true heroine. (And I love the name Digby for a female dog!)

Love Bears All Things said...

Oh, how sad!
Thanks for coming by to see my Mother's things. I never helped with the washing when it was done on the scrub board but the wringer washing was another story. I once got my hand in the wringer.
Mama BEar

justabeachkat said...

Oh Sandi...next time give us some warning so we can grab some kleenex. What a beautifully written tribute to your sweet Digby. It gave me sweet chills along with some very real tears.

You KNOW our Miss Daisy is a true part of our family. From the very very moment I realized I loved her (in other words, the very first hour), I begin dreading the day we would lose her. Thank you Lord she is only 2 years old.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Hugs sweet friend!
Kat

CrazyCath said...

Sandi this is such a wonderful, touching post. I read it to my husband too, and I could not hold back the tears. How you must miss her. I miss my cat, Tinker, the same (despite having many other cats. This is beautifully written.

Thank you for your visit at mine and your lovely comments.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Aww...gee whiz! Now you made my cry. I posted some photos of my fur baby today too. Come see. ~ Lynn

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Oh Sandi, I am crying right now! Tears running down my face. What a wonderful dog. I grew up with a collie and as a young teenage girl, I remember hugging Laddie around the neck many a day and sobbing for the "unfairness" of my teenage life....Laddie would just sit there and be that solid rock I needed.
Hugs,
Penny

Brenda said...

Oh this makes me sad. I have stopped at every shelter and pet store since we got here. I miss my Java so bad. I just don't know what to do. I know I can't replace him.

Adla said...

Digby, such a lovely name for a dog. Such a heroin she was. I Know how you feel about her though she was just a pet and is now long gone. I've had many pets in my lifetime and remember each and everyone of them very dearly too :)They do stay in our hearts forever!

Sandy said...

Sandi,
What a fabulous story. We used to have an sheep dog named ~ Sir Bogart Silvershag. I hated when my mom would have his beautiful coat shaved every summer but I'm sure he loved it in the heat of the Memphis summers.
What a sweet and heroic Digby you had!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend.
Blessings,
Sandy :)

Brenda said...

The Amish and Mennonite always have a dessert for breakfast this morning we ate at the farm. They have an Amish cook she made shoofly cakes. They were hot out of the oven with farm milk. OMG i gained so many pounds. Im eating a whoopee pie now.
I have been looking at the Bison Frise.They were royal lap dogs in France brought over by the Italian soilders.The one i really fell in love with ha a skin spot and they took him off sale. There is another,but didn't take to me like the first one. Maybe because they are in kennels. I have to pray an need a answer fast lol. We leave Rians on Monday.

Stacey said...

Dang, low whistle here.....Sandi what a great story. No, fantastic. Digby will be part of your life forever. Losing pets, it stinks, and I often reflect back on some of the great, amazing animals my life has been blessed by. xoxo

dabrah said...

What a wonderful story. Digby sounds amazing, and you must so miss her.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

This is the most heartwarming story I've read in some time. No wonder you're still thinking about Digby with a heart full of love!

david mcmahon said...

Simply beautiful, Sandi

Uncle Joe said...

What an amazing story.
I still think you should write a book if you haven't already.

Jamie Dawn said...

Digby was not only a pretty dog, but what a hero!!
I can feel the love you still have for her.
Pets do become part of the family. There is no doubt about that.

Merisi said...

Beloved dogs! :-)

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the invitation to have a cup of coffee with you. I really needed that! May I hang out with you on your porche for a while? I cooked up a storm for Sunday lunch with the kids, one birthday boy among them, and now the kitchen looks like a disaster area, and I have to go the airport within an hour and a half. So please let me hide out here a little, while the dishes go to dirty dishes heaven hopefully.
Have a wunderful Sunday, Sandi! :-)

smilnsigh said...

Awww Hon, I want to give you a big but gentle hug. {{{{{{Sandi}}}}}}

Mari-Nanci

Brenda said...

We leave in the morning an it has been great,but I feel my heart getting heavy and breaking. please pray for me.

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful story Sandi.I came from a family of pets are human and part of the family and then married a man who felt that way. Okay, so I would have never married a man who did not right?
They are part of us, our lives, our homes, hearts and souls. They enrich us, warm us, protect us, console us, love us unconditionally.
Your story made me cry as I thought of how much we love them and how short their time here with us truly is. I liked what our Lat said in her comment...I echo that. I have loved each and every pet in my life for different reasons but Kipper is special to me. It was *me* who found him at the shelter and chose to bring him home. It was me who helped *tame* the wild, mistreated fur ball who did not trust a human.
I just feel a kinship with him. It was he who helped heal my heart after our cat, Hannah, died. They are a gift from God. Your baby was a hero and one of a kind.
Hold those memories close. As much as it hurts to lose them, it would hurt more to never experience their
love, their joy for life, their companionship.
Thank you for sharing this sweetie.
I will echo Terri's comment when she says that she feels sorry for those who do not realize what miracles these lives are.

Love ya Sandi.

Blessings....

Sue

Jeff B said...

The word "pet" only seems to apply when it's someone who has never enjoyed the love of a big floppy dog, or the daily purs of a cat. To those of us that are fortunate enough to have known these treasures, the word "pet" does not apply. They become a part of our family and when we have to say a final goodbye to them it leaves a rather large empty space in our hearts.

Thanks for sharring this memory with us.

The Lehners in France said...

Awesome! You know how I am with animals, so I am sure you can imagine my tears. I'm expecting visitors in 10 minutes and will have to re apply mascara. Simply beautiful! Well done Sandi. Debs x

i beati said...

This is the most heartfelt story I've read in ages. Awesome for sure. Thanks for starting my day and bringing me a new link ok??

PAT said...

That's a beautiful story, Sandi! Made me weep.

Our pups have always been our children. When we've lost them, it's as if a family member has been lost.

What a brave and wonderful family member, Digby!

Pat

Kari & Kijsa said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing your doggie story!
Check out our post today for a fun freebie magazine offer!!!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Shrinky said...

Oh sandi, such a wonderful tale. Yes, she was a very special person indeed, wasn't she? Sounds to me she was certainly given back as much love as she gave. I dare not think ahead to the day my Jake will be taken from me. He is my constant companion, always at my side. Thank heavens that unlike us mere mortals, memories need never fade or die.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh Sandi what an amazing dog she was. My old dog Jazz still has that effect on me. We lost her when Miss E was 18 months, but I'll never forget how one day she wouldn't play rough with me anymore. No matter what I did she wouldn't tug her toy back from me. She'd pull Mr B's arm almost off, but she just snuggled me and nosed into my armpit. A couple of days later with this gentle behaviour continuing, we found out I was pregnant. Dogs are amazing. Sighhh.

Sandpiper said...

A beautiful story. It made me cry. I could never consider my cats "just cats." They are a part of my life and I love them like they are my kids.

merry weather said...

Oh Sandi, what a beautiful dog. How you must miss her. It follows to me that a nice person will have a nice dog somehow.

The story of the creek made me cry - just incredible X

San said...

Just stopping back by, Sandi, to congratulate you on being in David's Post of the Day. Most deserving, milady!!!

Lib said...

Hi,
What a wonderful story. Its so hard when we lose our furry kids!
Hope you're having a good wk.
I'm trying to catch up on blogging.
Blessins',Lib

david mcmahon said...

Thanks for the lovely comment on the latest Verse And Worse!

JanaBanana said...

What a wonderful dog! Sounds like he brought a lot of joy to your family... I love my Duke. Only dog I have ever truely loved...

My oldest daughter tiffany LOVES sheep dogs. She wants one so bad.. she claims that is the dog she will buy when she grows up and moves out...

Baby soon!!!

VP said...

That's a lovely story Sandi and a very moving tribute. I can see why Digby is very much missed. We've never owned a dog, but still miss our first 2 cats. However, the good memories flood back in the end don't they?

Thanks for stopping by at my place. What David does is great - a whole world of new blogs to discover like yours :)

womaninawindow said...

What a great dog! Nope, nothing replaces them and the grief is vast. We just lost our cat...Fox. I've got to go and pick up his little frozen body in a few days. If you care to you can get to know him here http://womaninawindow.blogspot.com/2008/04/ode-to-my-stupid-cat.html
Maybe the link will work and maybe not. Thank goodness for Digby!

Jamie Dawn said...

I just stopped by to see if there was a new post.
Nothing new here.
Crud!

:-)

I'll be back.

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Hi Hon, Okay, serious tears here, your story is so beautiful, well all your posts and stories are fantastic are actually but this one, so special to our hearts. My Pa had a Samoyed called Husky, the love of his life I tell you, when Husky died well I think Pa's heart had broken too, it was SUCH a great loss and I was about ten at the time. Animals are so special to us too Sandi, and we feel kinda sorry for those can't understand the love of a pet. Keep well hon, we love to catch up with your posts on Sunday nights! Oh, and it's soo cool here now, we are rugging up with scarves and having hot chocolates, about to go into Winter! Makes for a GREAT walk with the doggies :)

Hugs,
Jenn and Jacqui xo

Jay said...

What a wonderful story! Dogs are just amazing, aren't they? And some are more amazing than others. I'm guessing that Digby was what Americans call your 'heart dog'? The one you love so much that no other dog can come close?

Mine was my beloved James, our first greyhound. No other dog will ever be more to me than he was. He never rescued anyone from drowning, but I couldn't have loved him more.

Mima said...

Oh Sandi you had me crying! I also had a cat when I was younger, and I will never forget losing him. When I left home he stayed with my parents, but somehow knew when I was going to be coming home and would sleep on my bed waiting for me to come back. On one of my return trips from Cayman he was really not well, and my Mum took him to the vet while I was on my way to the airport. I phoned once I was through customs only to find that he had to be put down, so I was left in the middle of the airport sobbing - people must have thought I was mad!